Friday, December 30, 2011

Key West

We enjoyed spending a week in the Key West area - it was warm and relaxing. The first few pictures are of a guy in the RV park who were harvesting coconuts. Then one of the days we went to Mallory Square in Key West and watched the sunset. For those of you who have never been to Key West this is quite the big deal and a huge gathering. There are street performers and craft booths - but everything stops as the sun in setting...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Dry Tortugas

We decided to end our trip with another adventure so we booked a trip out to the Dry Tortugas. The trip started from the Key West "bight" (aka boat harbor) and took us 70 miles west of Key West to a series of islands. They were first named "Las Tortugas" (the turtles) by Ponce de Leon in 1513 and quickly became known as the Dry Tortugas because the map makers wanted sailors to understand there was no water available on them. In 1846 the US Government started building Fort Jefferson on Garden Key - which went on for 30 years but was never finished. During that time it was only used as a prison for northern defectors and was controlled by the north. The Army abandoned the fort in 1874 and in 1935 it became a national monument and in 1992 a national park.

The boat ride took about 3 hours going out the fort - the way back took almost 4 hours because it was pretty rough. It's also possible to go out there via float plane - in fact when we were there an otter landed that had Ketchikan on the tail as home port!

We decided we wanted to spend the night and so we brought our all of our camping gear. There were only 8 of us camping that night and with the minimal light in the area we enjoyed an almost unobstructed view of the stars.

Scott took around 250 pictures - we've narrowed them down significantly - hope you enjoy.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

December 17th: Day 44

Sugarloaf Key KOA to Key West!!
23 miles

We had a rough night with lots of noseeum bites so we had a leisurely breakfast before we got on the road. Then we had two flat tires before we even got out of the park!!

The ride into Key West was pretty crazy until the last few miles. Traffic was heavy and the at times the shoulders became sparse. At the end though we rode along a beautiful path next to the water. After waiting in line for a picture at the famous buoy we went straight to Margaritaville Cafe and ordered drinks and lunch to celebrate!

For those of you who want statistics (Tammy Box!) here you go...

5 flats: Ann 4, Scott 1
1.5 crashes: both Scott. One mirror destroyed.

Total mileage: 1,685
44 day trip with 11 days off
33 days of riding = average daily mileage of 51. We are happy with that because, as I mentioned before, this trip was very windy.

Average speed - around 9.5 mph. For those of you who bicycle regularly your probably laughing at how slow we are... :) Admittedly the recumbents slow us down in the hilly areas - but we were also carrying all of our camping gear in our BOB trailers. The trailers weigh about 20 pds - Scott's bag was 42 pds and mine was 35. In the panniers we carry food for the day, extra water and clothes for layering. So Scott probably had 75 pds of gear and I had around 60. You quickly decide what's important (we mailed home 8 pds worth of stuff about a week into the trip). The one item we both carried that we will carry again was a thermarest pillow. Gone are the days of using a jacket as a pillow!!

We met a lot of bicyclists on the trip but the couple we hope to see in the future are Chris and Jen from Philadelphia. They are taking a year off of work to bicycle basically around the US! We also met a lot of people in all the little towns we went through - some called us crazy - some called us inspiring. We had fun meeting all of them and I don't care what the media says - this Country of ours is still pretty cool...

We hope you enjoy the pictures - thanks to all of you who gave us encouragement and prayers for our safety!

FYI: for those of you who haven't been to Key West - the buoy is at the southernmost point in the US and is just 90 miles from Cuba. The tour guides will all tell you that another important fact is that it's 110 miles to the closest Walmart.

Look closely at the picture of my hands and legs - that bikers tan takes a lot of work! :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

December 16; Day 43

Long Key State Park to Sugarloaf Key KOA
49 miles
4 hours, 40 minutes

Woke up and had breakfast while watching a beautiful sunrise. What an amazing camp site - we both agreed this place will go onto our top 10 favorite places in the world.

Had another amazing day of riding - we've had so many days of headwinds this trip that it's been extra special to get some tailwinds these last few days.

A big part of today was biking over the 7 mile bridge. The road conditions weren't all that bad - even with lots of traffic. We took lots of pictures - mostly of the old bridge. The first 2 miles is still accessible but beyond that your in for a jump and a swim.

Part of the day we went through a deer preserve - it was interesting because as it shows in the picture the fence is huge but the deer in the preserve are the smallest in the world (the female is the same size as a golden retriever).

Saw a bunch of iguanas on the side of the road - that was really cool. They are huge! With the tail the ones we saw were 3.5 feet long. After all those years of Michael having lizards I'm glad we never had those - they look mean! I startled one of them - he ran off into the bushes - I was surprised at how fast he was.

We are staying the night in an RV park about 20 miles from Key West and are excited to ride there tomorrow. Although that's with mixed feelings - this trip has been great...

Here are some pictures from today...